TL;DR: ThunderHarp is a design and branding endeavor conceived in 2009 by Hilary Kelley, and launched into action in 2020 by Hilary and her husband Kyle Torok. We specialize in digital illustrations for adventurous companies and organizations seeking a human touch for their visual identity. We also make fun outdoor stuff that you can use or bring to show-and-tell.
ThunderHarp started in an abandoned train yard.
Wait, no, ThunderHarp started with a band. Kind of.
The year was 2009. My band had just played a show at a local bar in Atlanta. I came home buzzed and happy from the night, energized from a beer or three. This was around the time that Beyoncé rebranded as Sasha Fierce for her stage persona and I felt like, as an international superstar myself, this was a good move for me as well. (Our band absolutely did not make any money.)
I was the only person in the house and I dubbed myself Twilo ThunderHarp out loud, tickled by the cadence and mythic grandiosity.
portrait of the artist in an abandoned train yard
Founder, Chief Creative Officer Hilary Kelley
portrait of a man on his way to eat cemetery burritos
Co-founder, Brand Manager Kyle Torok
At the beginning of 2020, I'd been operating my illustration business for four years, and was discovering a side of my work that played differently from my often somber watercolor and gouache pieces. It was irreverent, buoyant, and featured several collaborations with my husband Kyle for our rogue running club. It started to represent everything we enjoy about finding the outdoors in the middle of a city: secret alleyways, wild animals, light trespassing, and of course, community.
It became evident that this new thing had to have its own space, and I created a separate Instagram profile. Coming up with the name didn't take long; after all, wasn't this really just another stage persona? ThunderHarp has always been kicking around in my subconscious, and so it finally came to life.
Today, ThunderHarp is a design house and a product line. It's for explorers who know there's more to most things than meets the eye. It's for businesses that want their visual identity to stand out from the graphic design crowd. It's for anyone who can make adventures wherever they are, whatever that means.
Ask your deep-down self, "what else ya got in there?" and I bet you'll find a little ThunderHarp.